Pacific Coast Builders Gold Nugget Awards, Sustainable Community of the Year, 2010
AIA Seattle Committee on the Environment, What Makes it Green, Honorable Mention, Rural Affordable Housing, 2010
Lopez Island, WA
Fulfilling a Need
Set in a rural community with an elevated cost of living driven by tourism, this workforce housing development reflects ambitious goals for economic, environmental and social sustainability. It is the first residential development in Washington State to achieve net zero energy performance.
The project began with an on-site campout and charrette by Mithun’s integrated design team, specialty consultants and community members. The resulting design incorporates energy-efficient straw bale construction and earthen plaster walls, allowing the design team and future residents to work hand-in-hand on construction. More than sixty interns, seventy volunteers, and eleven future homeowners contributed to the effort.
Each home is served by independent solar hot water and energy monitoring, plus district-scale photovoltaics and water catchment systems. Post occupancy evaluations indicate the community is achieving its aggressive energy and water performance goals, with individual use patterns the strongest determinant of results.